Dark Citadel (Shadowlands #2)

This book takes place a couple of months after the first book, Club Shadowlands. While not absolutely necessary, it would be best if these books were read in order.

dark citadel

After Kari breaks up with her date during Beginner’s Night at Club Shadowlands, she’s given the option to continue with an experienced dominant. Despite her steamy fantasies about BDSM, the inexperienced schoolteacher plans to simply observe. Yet under the unyielding hands of Master Dan, she not only participates, but gives him everything he asks for. There is nothing she can hide from him. Not her passion…or her love.

Publisher’s Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations some readers may find objectionable: Anal play/intercourse, BDSM theme and content (including/not limited to bondage, caning, restraint, spanking, tethering) exhibitionism, voyeurism.

—                        —                        —

Well Kari is officially my hero! This goody two shoes teacher who is as sweet as can be signs up to take BDSM classes at the local kink club with her sorta boyfriend, and when he acts like a jerk, decides to leave him and carry on with the classes on her own!

That takes some guts. It is also where she meets the love of her life, “Master Dan”, an instructor in the class who agrees to be her partner. He guides her into the kink-filled world of Club Shadowlands. And he certainly doesn’t waste any time finding out what kinks innocent little Kari would like to try out.

Kari felt herself turn red.

“Well, she has fantasies.” He grinned. “Good. A gorgeous barbarian chasing you down and taking you against your will? Have you had that one?”

“I—” She bit her lower lip. Was she wearing an I-have-kinky-dreams brand or something?

“I would enjoy chasing you; I wonder if you’d enjoy being caught?”

Sinclair, Cherise. Dark Citadel (Masters of the Shadowlands Book 2) (Kindle Locations 275-278). VanScoy Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Master Dan has quite the hot temper but this is tempered by his strong protective instincts, instincts that are only exacerbated by his dominant nature and homicide detective career.

He also has a sense of humour, and an alarming ability to work his way back into Kari’s heart when he messes up.

She could just imagine, all her friends and family mourning around her grave. The tombstone would read Kari Wagner, Died of Sheer Stupidity… [on the other hand], It would be almost as bad to have her grave marker read Died of Terminal Bedroom Boredom.

Sinclair, Cherise. Dark Citadel (Masters of the Shadowlands Book 2) (Kindle Locations 190-192). VanScoy Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Dark Citadel is a short novel, about the same length as the first in the series. Thankfully characters repeatedly show up in later books as a part of the supporting cast, because I definitely did not get enough of Dan and Kari.

* * * * *

xx

Obsession Mine by Anna Zaires

This is the second book in the trilogy. To read my preview of book one, please click here.

Obsession Mine is available for pre-order today and will be released on 14th November 2017. I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

obsession

I stole her in the night. Caged her because I can’t live without her. She’s my love, my addiction, my obsession.

I will do anything to keep Sara mine.

—                         —                         —

Anna Zaires is the reigning Queen of dark romance in my world. I loved her Twist Me and Capture Me series, and now the current WIP has stolen top spot.

I absolutely loved both Tormentor Mine and Obsession Mine. This book starts off immediately from where the previous one ends, which is certainly an action-packed couple of chapters, as Peter is kidnapping Sara, stealing her away from the world!

Sara becomes a true captive of Peter, even more so than when he was living in her house because he has taken her away from her family, her friends and her patients. I think that the lack of work is the hardest to adjust to for Sara. She is a workaholic who fills emotional needs through her efforts as an OB-GYN and to suddenly have days that are mostly empty is difficult to reconcile, especially given the circumstances.

It is difficult to believe, but the sex just gets hotter in this instalment! And it is now beyond obvious that there will be a third concluding book in this trilogy, something I was hoping for though it also means having to suffer through the months of waiting for the conclusion. Anna, please write quickly!

Some of the sex in Obsession Mine is of dubious consent and there is an oral rape scene. Please read the tags for this blog post if you are concerned about triggers.

The only thing that struck me as odd in this book is the limited amount of time spent developing relationships between Sara and Peter’s team, in the first half of the story at least. I expected them to have more interaction right off given the circumstances and hope those secondary characters will be expanded on in the next book because they all deserve their own trilogies!

I also really wanted Sara to have a full-fledged freak-out at some point, and the bathtub scene on her first day at the safe house seemed perfect. Readers of the first book will remember that before Peter and Sara became romantically entangled, he tortured her for information, and part of this was him water-boarding her. She has PTSD and an angry Peter standing over her in the bathtub should have triggered this.

Otherwise, an exceptional book that I will be re-reading again and again while I wait for the concluding part in this series!

* * * * *

xx

Dark Hunter (Zeta Cartel #4)

Dark Hunter is the fourth book in the Zeta Cartel dark romance series by AJ Adams. You can read reviews for books onetwo and three on this website.

4

Rip Marston is a merciless killing machine. After a decade of hunting his prey, Rip joins the Zetas. The job offers protection as he practices his dark arts, but the Cartel are wary of the monster in their midst.

Finding a badly beaten unconscious girl, Rip sees an opportunity. Posing as her saviour will please the cartel – and provide him with his very own helpless captive.

Isabella Maria Franco is beautiful, wilful and used to making hard choices. Having grown up in the comfortable but lethal embrace of the Gulf cartel, she rejected a life of violence. But when a dark presence from her past returns, her world falls apart.

Betrayed and beaten, she escapes, only to find herself in a living nightmare. Surrounded by her enemies, one man stands between her and death. Terrified by her sadistic captor, she has little choice but to submit.

But embracing his darkness leads to consequences neither anticipated.

WARNING: This bad boy dark romance contains explicit scenes of dubious consent, graphic violence, sex and probably every trigger you can think of.

—                         —                         —

Dark Hunter begins with a fairly significant amount of backstory to introduce two new characters into the Zeta Cartel series. This is helpful to fans of the series, but as a reader, I also wanted to just jump in with the main story and revisit old characters, so my impatient personality was also slightly frustrated by the seemingly slow start.

While Dark Hunter isn’t exactly a Romeo and Juliet story, Isabella is dang lucky that she wormed her way into the hearts of her new-found friends before they realized her parentage, because if not, they would have killed her on the spot just because of her last name. She is also supremely lucky that Rip needed her so badly to adapt to his new environment and that Rip’s skills were in particular demand at the time.

I’ve rated Dark Hunter four stars because Isabella is too similar to the previous two heroines in this series for my liking. All three seem to have the same dominant character traits. All are mouthy and hide their fear well from the Cartel, possess dubious backgrounds and fit right in with the outlaw lifestyle, and don’t take things personally. They are perfectly fine with murder and mayhem and don’t seem to have any moral qualms with the world they inhabit.

The heroine in the first book had some striking differences that separate her from these heroines, and in my opinion she probably had the hardest time adapting to her new life, but Dark Hunter felt like the third book in a row with nearly the same heroine. I am fervently hoping the author changes it up in the next book in the Zeta Cartel series, which I will still be eagerly awaiting.

At the end of the day, Kyle is still my first love and main squeeze among the Zetas.

* * * *

xx

Leopard’s Blood by Christine Feehan

leopard

#1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan cuts straight to the heart of a man who stalks the shadows in an intoxicating Leopard novel.

Though born into a leopard’s lair in the bayou, Joshua Tregre’s fighting skills were honed in the rainforests of Borneo. Sleek and deadly, he’s the perfect man to take over a crime syndicate back home in Louisiana’s lush swamplands. His razor sharp instincts give him an edge in the violent underworld he knows so well, but even the watchful leopard inside him isn’t prepared for the danger that comes from the girl next door…

She is a woman who can create beauty out of thin air—and out of the ruins of her own life. The games that dangerous men play have taken their toll on her, but she is bent, not broken. And it’s her fierce spirit that’s like a lure to Joshua, a temptation he can’t resist—even if it means bringing his true nature into the light…

—                         —                         —

Leopard’s Blood starts with a bang!

The couple meet straight off when Sonia’s leopard goes into heat for the first time, and she calls to her mate, Shadow. This is a change from many of the other books in the Leopard series where the heroine doesn’t shift forms until the latter part of the book. One of the aspects of this series that I really like is seeing the interaction between the two leopards, and the leopards and their respective human partners so it provided more opportunity for this to happen.

Joshua is much more patient and understanding than most of the other Leopard men we have met, which makes sense because he has a reputation as one of the more level-headed guys. He might actually be my favourite hero! Although paranoid about his mate’s security, he is happy to work with her and support her career, rather than trying to get her to stay at home. He also doesn’t mind her having male friends, secure in her commitment to him emotionally, even when she is still on the fence. This is a welcome change from previous couples – not that I dislike the he-man routine, but it helps keep the series from becoming repetitive and one-dimensional.

Throughout my reading of Leopard’s Blood, I was going to give the book a five star review for most of the story, but I decided to drop it down to four. Without giving away too many plot details, a serious altercation occurs which results in Sonia and Joshua’s leopards being furious with each other and although the humans resolve it, the leopards never really appear again, except in fight sequences. It felt like the story was unresolved and a moment I was really looking forward to didn’t happen.

* * * *

xx

Dirty Dealings (Zeta Cartel #3)

Dirty Dealings is the third book in the dark romance series Zeta Cartel by AJ Adams. Click these links if you are looking for my reviews of book one or book two.

3

Quique is having a bad time. Back in Mexico his marriage has fallen apart and his wife has made him a laughing stock by cheating on him. Now he’s in London and finding himself out of his depth with a complex commercial deal. To make things worse, Natalia Truelove, a chef and pub manager, is blackmailing him. Quique is ready to commit murder and he’s pretty sure who his first victim will be.

Warning: Dirty Dealings contains strong adult language and themes as well as graphic violence and fully depicted love scenes

—                         —                         —

I somehow completely missed the release of this book last year. I just picked up and started book four and realized that Quique was now married to someone new, and went back to one-click this book. No wonder it seemed like such a long time between book releases in this series. I’m just a dunce.

Dirty Dealings features an antihero who is familiar to readers of the Zeta Cartel. Quique is a surprising revelation within the macho Latino world of the Cartel. He has a thing against hitting women, and is amazingly lighthearted and sweet when not in work mode. He also likes his woman to be independent, a partner in life, when most of his colleagues view a woman as an ornament.

This book is mostly set in Britain, with lots of dry Brit humour and colloquialisms throughout. The heroine is a tough, brash woman with a disreputable backstory and an extended family of ex-inlaws with reputations of their own. Natalia reminds me of a workhorse, in the nicest of ways. She just doesn’t stop. She doesn’t acknowledge the obstacles in her way, she is always looking for solutions, searching for better, and will drag her family along with her no matter how much bitching or feet-dragging they do. She truly cares about them and their BS, even when they treat her horribly and have been the cause of much past suffering.

I felt like Quique and Natalia were well-matched and once they got over being on separate sides of a business deal, they realized it as well. Bruja mala leche (evil, little witch) is one of my favourite insults to use IRL (and I’ve been known to call my sisters this) so I was vastly amused as Quique’s use of this term gradually changed from a hate-filled curse to an endearment.

Also, apparently my efforts in learning the Spanish language are having an effect because I could translate most of the Spanish bits without referring to a dictionary or the internet! Woot!

Dirty Dealings is very plot-driven, more so than the previous two books. I felt that the romance took a backseat, and should have been brought forward more. The couple don’t fall into bed together until nearly 60% of the way in, so if you like super steamy books, that is something to take note of ahead of time.

** getting darker … **

I also wish that the issue of rape had been examined more. Adams wrote Quique mostly as a dark hero, a baddy who would still drop everything to rescue a child, but he is also a high-ranking member of the most powerful Cartel in the world, and a former Guatemalan special forces soldier. He doesn’t like rape, but had used it in the past as a tool of war, of intimidation and interrogation. Unfortunately, this subject is examined in a couple of short, introspective paragraphs and I think it is something that should have more of a big deal in the plot. Hopefully Adams will bring it up again with a future character in the Zeta Cartel.

* * * *

xx

Club Shadowlands (Masters of the Shadowlands Book 1)

Cherise Sinclair has been my favourite author for the last year or two, especially lately. I stumbled upon Club Shadowlands when she only had four published novels, and burned through those in a week. Ever since, it seems I have been anxiously waiting for the next book. Cherise Sinclair, the Queen of Tease 😉

51b8l-aP5IL._SY346_

Her car disabled during a tropical storm, Jessica Randall discovers the isolated house where she’s sheltering is a private bondage club. At first shocked, she soon becomes aroused watching the interactions between the Doms and their subs. But she’s a professional woman–an accountant–and surely isn’t a submissive…is she?

Master Z hasn’t been so attracted to a woman in years. But the little sub who has wandered into his club intrigues him. She’s intelligent. Reserved. Conservative. After he discovers her interest in BDSM, he can’t resist tying her up and unleashing the passion she hides within.

Publisher’s Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: Anal play/intercourse, strong BDSM theme and content (including/not limited to bondage, caning, restraints, spanking, etc), exhibitionism, voyeurism.

—                        —                        —

Club Shadowlands is a fantastic introductory story for someone who is new to erotica, and especially for those who are new to BDSM. I adore Sinclair’s writing style, steamy sex scenes and well thought out plot lines. Things rarely feel contrived or forced in a Cherise Sinclair novel.

Another reason why she is my go-to recommendation for those dipping their toe in to the kink pond is that Sinclair’s books contain informative explanations about bdsm, with healthy relationships that are based on consensual scenes. I asked her once about this on social media and she explained that she tries to introduce a new kink in every book, so I really feel like these books serve as stepping stones into the bdsm community. If you are a newbie, like I was when I discovered Club Shadowlands, you will get a great introduction to different kinks and relationship types, without feeling like you are reading something educational.

Early on in Club Shadowlands, the heroine makes a comparison to her adventure into the club, likening it to a kinky Alice in Wonderland experience which is both hilarious and apt. There are sprinkles of humour throughout although I wouldn’t describe this as a funny book, but I love Jessica’s matter of fact way of looking at the world and her clear, unmuddled emotions.

Club Shadowlands is novella length, but you get updates on the couple throughout the series so it doesn’t feel like they have been short changed at all. Indeed, several of the books in the beginning of this series are shorter, and as the author became more comfortable (and as readers demanded longer tales), they gradually grew in length.

“Z”, the hero of the story and the owner of the bdsm club Jessica stumbles into is a mind-reader, military vet and current psychologist. I adore him and his mind-reading ability is more of a quirky plus in the series, rather than a lead-in two a whole new range of paranormal.

Club Shadowlands is Free on amazon so try it out! There are lots of books out in this series if you decide you love it as much as I do, which I can pretty much guarantee if you like the majority of other books that I blog about.

* * * * *

xx

 

The World’s Strongest Librarian

librarian

An inspiring story of how a Mormon kid with Tourette’s found salvation in books and weight-lifting.

Josh Hanagarne couldn’t be invisible if he tried. Although he wouldn’t officially be diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome until his freshman year of high school, Josh was six years old and onstage in a school Thanksgiving play when he first began exhibiting symptoms. By the time he was twenty, the young Mormon had reached his towering adult height of 6’7″ when — while serving on a mission for the Church of Latter Day Saints — his Tourette’s tics escalated to nightmarish levels.

Determined to conquer his affliction, Josh underwent everything from quack remedies to lethargy-inducing drug regimes to Botox injections that paralyzed his vocal cords and left him voiceless for three years. Undeterred, Josh persevered to marry and earn a degree in Library Science. At last, an eccentric, autistic strongman — and former Air Force Tech Sergeant and guard at an Iraqi prison — taught Josh how to “throttle” his tics into submission through strength-training.

Today, Josh is a librarian in the main branch of Salt Lake City’s public library and founder of a popular blog about books and weight lifting—and the proud father of four-year-old Max, who has already started to show his own symptoms of Tourette’s.

The World’s Strongest Librarian illuminates the mysteries of this little-understood disorder, as well as the very different worlds of strongman training and modern libraries. With humour and candour, this unlikely hero traces his journey to overcome his disability — and navigate his wavering Mormon faith — to find love and create a life worth living.

—                        —                         —

It’s funny, all the lines one could draw between my life and Joshs’, the parallel direction we both seem to have taken at some point. I randomly came across this book on Goodreads – it was recommended based on other things I had read – and the title and cover immediately drew me in. My interest was piqued.

The fact that Josh was a librarian, writing his memoir, was one of the original things that drew me to this book. While those professional experiences took a backseat in the book, it is hilarious how relate-able some of his interactions with customers were to me. Some of the conversations I swear I have had almost verbatim at my own library. I particularly loved the old woman who described her favourite genre to be “the nakedest of romances”. Well okay then.

I have worked in a library since I was sixteen years old, and still do. Librarians in my experience are rarely men, and even more rarely, men super into fitness or sports. So I checked out the audio book from my library’s streaming service and started listening. This is how I found out that Josh is Mormon. One questioning his faith by the end of the book, but a self-identified and fully baptized Elder none-the-less.

I am also Mormon. Unlike Josh, I wasn’t raised in the church, I didn’t go on a mission, and I don’t currently attend meetings. My faith is questionable at times, and I don’t feel a sense of urgency about it at the moment. Though I’m sure this would be hard to explain at the Pearly Gates if I was killed tomorrow, I know that I will get more serious about religion when I have children of my own. Right now it feels like I have time to be young, and in my precarious job field, you take the extra Sunday shifts while they’re offered, lest they dry up.

Unlike Josh, I don’t have Tourettes. THANK GOD. But one of my best friends does. I see her physical tics and slight vocal tics every time we hang out. They aren’t severe like the authors’ but I know she wishes she didn’t have them. They can be frustrating to deal with for her friends and family as well, but mostly I wish that she could have freedom from them for her own peace of mind. I know this friend was interested when I started taking about The World’s Strongest Librarian and his Tourettes. She had never thought to name hers the way Josh did, and told me that his description of his disorder was exactly how she had always felt and never been able to express in words.

I hope she chooses to listen to this book. I would highly recommend it for anyone with Tourette Syndrome or anyone looking to find out more about it.

* * * * *

xx